Jay Bertram Sorenson, 82, a resident of Albuquerque since 1970 and a Political Science Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico, died Monday, Aug. 15. A memorial service will be held at the UNM Alumni Chapel Sunday, Aug. 21 at 10 a.m. A reception will follow at the UNM Faculty / Staff Club, located at 1923 Las Lomas NE.
Sorenson was born in 1929 in Manhattan, N.Y. His parents, Gene and Sarah Sorenson, were both seasoned labor organizers. He grew up in Greenwich Village, N.Y. and earned a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University, with a concentration in Soviet Studies. He was among the first group of Americans to visit the Soviet Union after the Stalin-era to study labor policy.
Following graduation, he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study full employment policies in Norway. Returning in 1960, he accepted a teaching position at Princeton University. He also taught at Smith College in Northampton, Mass.
In 1969, he published, "Life and Death of Soviet Trade Unionism." Albuquerque became his adopted home in 1970, when he became a professor in the UNM Political Science Department. Sorenson's knowledge of foreign affairs and the Soviet Union led to an expert level understanding of weapons programs. He was later appointed as an adviser to New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici on the SALT agreements.
His interest turned to the impact of nuclear weapons development on the environment and ground water. He was on the Sierra Club's Sum Zero Waste Committee in the 1990s, addressing hazardous waste issues in an effort to establish a 100 percent waste free production process for goods and services.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Mary Louise Sorenson; children Vivian Sorenson and husband Gary Meister of New York City; Eugene Sorenson and wife Andree Sanders of New York City; grandchildren Campbell Jay Sorenson, Louisa MacLaine Sorenson and Zoe Boo Meister.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Wilderness Society. A guestbook for Sorenson can be found at: Remember Their Story.